Dark Skies

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NPP/news/earth-at-night.html#.Vsu_fHQrK2y
Composite map of the world assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

When we were on our honeymoon, the Partner in Crime and I visited a planetarium in Seattle one day. The show happened to be about light pollution, and it’s been nagging at the back of my mind ever since. The fixes are so simple, yet the scale of the problem is so large that it seems unlikely it will ever be addressed. Yet think of what we could all gain! Aside from the positive effects on wildlife and energy usage, what a magic to once again be able to look up and see the Milky Way from inhabited areas.

Here is the Internation Dark-Sky Association’s tips of minimizing light pollution: “To minimize the harmful effects of light pollution, lighting should:

  • Only be on when needed
  • Only light the area that needs it
  • Be no brighter than necessary
  • Minimize blue light emissions
  • Be fully shielded (pointing downward).”

That’s it! If I ever become mayor of somewhere, we’re definitely going to certify our town as an International Dark Sky Place. I can give out my campaign fliers on star maps…

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